Living With Suicide
In honour of #WorldSuicidePreventionDay I’d like to take a few minutes to speak on the subject.
Suicide has long been a reality in my life; a notion, as it were, that I have had to fight against internally for as long as I can remember.
The first time I overdosed on pills I was 12. I had been abused and neglected much as a child, and then sexually assaulted by a man in his 60's at the tender age of ten. At 12 I was a child carer of my baby nephew, missing school and fretting about the welfare of a baby when I was still one myself. My overdose was a cry for help, and it went entirely unnoticed – once my stomach had been pumped at the hospital.
At the age of fifteen I finally left my toxic home and moved in with my 21 year old boyfriend – *Troy in The Lemay Leveller.
Troy and I were soul mates and I loved him with an almost feverish devotion. Despite the fact that I would have given him anything in the world to make him feel better, he committed suicide when I was 16. I then lived primarily alone and homeless until I married and moved country aged 22. But Troy’s action, committing suicide right when it felt like we were close to living in an eternal summer of hope, utterly broke me. From the moment my world shattered at the news, to the moment I am writing this now, I have had to battle against the reality of suicide.
The effect that experiencing a suicide while still a very young person is, that it tells you, while your brain is forming it’s concept of reality, that suicide is a valid option. During the long years of homelessness I hugged that option tightly to me, viewing it much like a train ticket that I possessed but had yet to use.
In TheLL I told the story of my attempted suicide when I was 17. I was also assaulted by a police officer on that day, for not the first time and not the last time. There was no care, no compassion. I lived in a dog eat dog world and I was dog food. That was in 1996. Fast forward 20ish years and finally people are beginning to talk about, and take seriously, a reality of the human condition: mental health.
Since having my son at the age of 27, there have still been a few occasions when I have felt suicidal. But I refuse to teach my son the lesson that I was taught. I refuse to send him the message that killing himself is acceptable. And that’s exactly what I’d be doing if I committed suicide. I have learned to push through the moments of madness that can sometimes creep in with the grief I live with and the severe PTSD that I have.
I rarely feel suicidal now because I’m in a pretty good place in life. But I recognise it like a monster that lurks in my head, an inner enemy who I have to be constantly vigilant for. Now, if I have a terrible mental health crash, I reach out. To anybody I can trust not to hurt me in that moment. I am blessed to have many people in my life who I know are unquestionably positive forces for me. Who I really worry for, are all those who are out there alone, as I once was. In hindsight, it was isolation, emotional and/or physical, that Troy put between us before he killed himself. It is isolation that has brought me to my most dangerous places in the past. We must reach out to each other! Recognise that everyone is fighting their own inner battle. Don’t be the bully that breaks the back of someone else, be the hero that tells them you care.
Life and death are messy, bloody, complicated things. Things can be so bad that no words on any blog will ever do them justice. But push through. You need to live your life. We are merely on an extended holiday in Resort Planet Earth. Enjoy your time here as if you’re an alien on a road trip and this is where you’re stopping to refill the spaceship with solar power. Be silly. Be creative. Scream. But don’t take your own precious life, no matter what anyone tells you. You are special and you deserve to live and be happy. Peace. And rest in peace G.G.
*not his real name just another Easter egg in the book